It’s been just over a month that I’ve been playing WoW, and in all honesty, I’ve enjoyed every step of the way. As of last night, I’m halfway through level 38 in what has probably been the most enjoyable leveling experience that I’ve have had with any of the MMOs I’ve played. Perhaps it’s because it’s all new to me, but the world continues to impress, both because of the look and feel of its environments, but also in its size. I’m sure that EverQuest II has more square footage of virtual land, but to me, WoW feels bigger. In addition to that, I seem to have quite a few options to quest at the moment. I’m currently working in Dustwallow Marsh, but I could just as easily be questing in Desolace, Arathi Highlands, Alterac Mountains, Badlands, Stranglethorn Vale, or Swamp of Sorrows. Diversity of questing zones aside however, one of the biggest drawbacks to WoW that I’ve seen so far is an apparent lack of interest in running through group instances.
It’s been said that WoW is all about rushing through to the end game, and from my limited viewpoint so far, I’d have to agree. One of the things I enjoyed most about EverQuest II was running through its many instances and dungeons such as Stormhold, Crushbone Keep, Runnyeye, and Estate of Unrest, among many others. Personally, I never grew tired of running through these places, and I don’t think it was just me, because I never had too much difficulty in getting groups together to hit them up. In WoW however, the group instances and dungeons seem to just be a big “pain in the ass” for people to run, choosing to zip through them as quickly as possible with a max level character doing all the dirty work rather then grouping up with players of similar level. The first instance I had quests for was Blackfathom Deeps. Eager to check the zone out, I put my LFG tag on and proceeded to wait… and wait. I eventually gave up, and was later told by my WoW-veteran friend that “nobody goes there anymore”. I’ve subsequently missed out on a few other instances that I would have liked to have seen, but I have seen three: Deadmines, Gnomeregan, and most recently, Scarlet Monastery.
Of course, for each of those three instances, I’ve been run through by a level 70. I was hoping to get some good screen shots of them, but everything went by too fast. I was too busy looting the piles of dead bodies left behind by the 70 Paladin plowing his way forward. Scarlet Monastery went a little slower, because of the higher level mobs, but it’s still nowhere near the “true experience”. From what I saw though, Scarlet Monastery is a cool looking zone, and probably would have been fun to run through it legitimately. If I ever make it to the level cap I’ll be sure to head back to these lower instances and check them out. The one thing that I really want to do above all else though, is take on Onyxia. I’m told it’ll be hard, just because it’s “old” content that not too many people do any more. I suppose this is all part of coming to an established MMO four years after its release.